Abilene-area school projects top list before voters May 7

Voting sign

In addition to Abilene's current city council and school board election, residents across much of the Big Country will be headed to the polls Saturday to vote on city and school issues, including several school bond propositions.

Residents of Stephenville and Ranger will be addressing needs/wants, along with residents of the Brookesmith ISD, which is asking for almost $10 million for school facilities.

Residents of the Baird ISD will decide to spend $17 million for facilities and buses.

Stephenville: Athletic facilities

The largest request comes from Erath County, from Stephenville ISD, which is asking for a combined $75 million split between two bonds:

  • $50 million for construction of a football stadium

  • $25 million for other sports-related improvements, including an indoor athletic facility, tennis complex and baseball stands.

The need for the stadium, which would be completed before the start of the 2025 football season, came about because of the upcoming end of a long-running contract with Tarleton State University to rent the university's stadium for high-school varsity games.

After July 31, 2025, Stephenville ISD superintendent Eric Cederstrom said, "that is no longer going to be an option."

"As Tarleton has grown, its needs have changed; and likewise, Stephenville ISD's needs have changed."

Both the stadium — which would seat 8,000 — and the indoor facility would be constructed on land already owned by the district, located between the junior high and high school.

If approved, the stadium and facility would allow the school to host playoff games and tournaments, Cederstrom said.

Stephenville's location, between Abilene, the Fort Worth-Dallas area, San Angelo and Waco, makes it a neutral site of choice.

Additionally, Stephenville has had great football success, winning the 2021 state championship in its UIL classification.

The tennis complex will allow the school's program to have its own courts. Currently, the SISD is dependent on the city's public facilities.

Ranger: Homes and hail damage

In neighboring Eastland County, Ranger ISD is seeking a combined $4.25 million, divided across three propositions for a variety of school improvements and to address teacher housing issues.

The first Ranger ISD propositions — which at $2.3 million constitutes the lion's share of the total request — mostly would go toward improving the district's main building, which includes both its high school and elementary classrooms, and part of its junior high.

Those would include replacing 42 air-conditioning units, repaving the parking lot and purchasing furniture for parts of the school, Ranger ISD superintendent Kevin Shipley said.

"In April of last year, we had a hailstorm that required the entire main building to be gutted and rebuilt," Shipley said. "Everything underneath the roof is brand new."

"Basically what the board did was say, 'We have everything new, we would like to finish it up.'"

The second proposition would devote $1.35 million to improvements to the school's stadium — which is more than 90 years old, Shipley said. Plans include sandblasting, bleacher repairs and new locker rooms and concession stands.

Ranger now plays at the six-man level in football.

The district's third proposition asks for $600,000 to construct two or three homes for teachers, although rising construction costs remain a concern, Shipley said. Teachers who stay in the district for several years will be eligible to purchase the homes, which Shipley hopes will attract new employees that have been put off by a lack of housing.

After moving to the district, "it took me eight months to find a place to live," Shipley said, during which time he lived in a fifth-wheel trailer. "I've lost staff members, and had staff members turn me down, because we couldn't find housing for them."

Nathaniel Ellsworth is a general assignments reporter for the Abilene Reporter-News. If you appreciate locally driven news, you can support local journalists with a digital subscription to ReporterNews.com.

Voters' guide

Here is a look at what is before voters in other Abilene-area counties:

Brown County


City Council (vote for 3): William Loyd, Waymond Sheppard, Greg Parrott, Marisa Craddock, Danny Marney

Bangs ISD

Trustee (vote for 2): Dennis Sanchez, Eric Lykins, Sandy Lehman

Trustee (unexpired term): Brooke Loyd, Joshua Purcell, Jennifer Valdez McCoy

Brookesmith ISD

Proposition A ($9.95 million bonds for school facilities)


Mayor: Stephen E. Haynes, Patrick McLaughlin IV

Brown County Water Improvement District No. 1

Director (vote for 2): Joe Stieber, Brad Simpson, Bert V. Massey II

Early ISD

Trustee Place 4: Bobby Brinson, Andrew "Cas" Castanuela

Callahan County

Baird ISD

Proposition A ($17 million bond for school facilities and buses)

Coleman County

Santa Anna ISD

Board Member (vote for 3): David Herrod, Billy Perry, Michael Bruce, Davia Farley, Kourtney Guerrero, Roger Guerrero Jr.

Comanche County


Council Member (vote for 3): Jimmy E. Cuellar, Tommy Gibson, Jackie Escobar-Gutierrez, Chris Hancock

Comanche ISD

Trustee Place 5 (unexpired term): Shane A. Stalnacker, Joel Luker

De Leon

Mayor: Terry D. Scott, Jan Grisham

City Council Place 1: Emma M. Gonzales, Jeremy C. Johnson

City Council Place 2: Trudy Newton Spears, Phillip Garner

De Leon ISD

Trustees (vote for 3): Brandon Burrow, Terrill Casey, Racheal Wofford, Laramie Callison, Jr. Pacheco, Megan Welch, Jeremy C. Johnson, Cecelia Terrill Boswell


Alderman (vote for 2): Elizabeth Diaz, Alan Luker, Ed Evans, Andy Cole Hesbrook Sr.

Eastland County


Council Place 1: Rick Lewis, Jason R. Whetstone

Cisco ISD

Trustee Place 1: Mel Matthews, Amanda Rogers-Bennett

Cisco College

Board of Regents Place 7: Duane Hale, Staci Wilks

Eastland ISD

Trustee Place 1: Timothy Carroll, John Bird

Trustee Place 2: Kimberly Fullen, Billy Bob Orsagh

Eastland Memorial Hospital

Board of directors (vote for 5): John Menzies, Richard Barron, Kael Joiner, Matthew Crum, Donald W. Hughes, Laurie Mangun, Missy Moylan, Carolyn White

Ranger ISD

Proposition A ($2.3 million bond for school buildings and buses)

Proposition B ($1.35 million bond for athletic stadium facilities)

Proposition C ($600,000 bond for teacher housing)

Erath County

Dublin ISD

Trustees (vote for two): John Shipman, Pat Leatherwood, Anjelica Salyer, Tara Caldera (write-in)

Trustee (unexpired term): Bob Cervetto, Dewayne Kolb


Mayor: Brady Pendleton, Doug Svien

City Council Place 6: David Baskett, Dean Parr

Stephenville ISD

Board of Trustees Place 4: Amauri Martinez, Luke Sims

Proposition A ($50 million bond for new football/soccer stadium)

Proposition B ($25 million bond for indoor athletic facility, tennis complex and baseball stands)

Haskell County

Haskell CISD

School Board District 1: Joel Torres III, Jason Isbell

School Board District 6: Casey Moeller, Heath Pinkerton

Jones County

Anson ISD

School board (vote for 3): Travis Spraberry, Jimmy Stevens, Zach Soliz, Amanda Hagler

Lueders Avoca ISD

Trustee (vote for 3): Russell Marley, Elizabeth Davis, Michelle Huffaker, Justine Henderson, Bruce Wyatt

Hamlin ISD

School board (vote for 2): Jennifer Prater, Kendon Gruben, Dan Byerly

Kent County

Jayton-Girard ISD

School board (vote for 2): Connie Martinez, Mario Rivera, Andy Vargas, Stephen Collins

Knox County


Mayor: Janet Reed, Jason Doran

Knox City

Proposition (reauthorization of street maintenance half-cent sales tax)


Proposition (continuation of street maintenance fund)

Mitchell County

Colorado City

City Council Place 3: Marcus Contreras, Niki Wallington

Proposition A (charter amendment to comply with state law in procurement)

Proposition B (charter amendment to allow city to have contracting authority provided by state law)

Westbrook ISD

Trustee (vote for 4): Ranee Dawson, Adam Roemisch, Ashley Northcutt, Brad Hale, George Rincones, Bobby Moody, Guy Payne, Mindy Hale, Ben Muller, Teresa Matlock

Nolan County


Proposition (reauthorization of street maintenance quarter-cent sales tax)


City Council Place 4: Stacy Boil, Jerod Peek

Sweetwater ISD

Trustee Place 5: Richard Tilley, Matt Weaver

Scurry County


City Council Place 3: Jeffrey Levens, Julian Dominguez

Snyder ISD

Trustee Place 2: Brad Hinton, Isrell Lawson

Shackelford County

Shackleford County Hospital District

Board of directors (vote for 4): Kayla Herron, Myra Hise, Mary Dickie Jones, Kraymer L. Harbold, Jason Price, Beth Roysdon, Rochelle Stewart

Lueders-Avoca ISD

Trustees (vote for 3): Russell Marley, Elizabeth Davis, Michelle Huffaker, Justine Henderson, Bruce Wyatt

Stonewall County


Proposition (reauthorization of street maintenance quarter-cent sales tax)

Taylor County


City Council Place 5: James Sargent, Kyle McAlister

City Council Place 6: Travis Craver, Charles Byrn, Dorothy Clay

Abilene ISD

Trustee Place 4: Cindy Parker Earles, Reini King

Trustee Place 5: Danny E. Wheat, Jeff Carr

Trustee Place 6: Justin Anderson, Billy Enriquez

Buffalo Gap

Alderman (vote for 2): James Carlton Mabes, April Tyler, Leonard Glasgow

Alderman (unexpired term): Linda McCulloch Curtis, Merry Ann Byrd

Jim Ned CISD

Trustees (vote for 3): Matt Higgins, Ryan Clift, Michael Daggs Jr., Dean Beasley, Cam Holson, Michael Anderson

Lytle Lake Water Control and Improvement District

Board of Directors (vote for two): Patty Reed Knight, Anna Marie Bridge, Courtney Queen, Kelly Cannon, Rusty Beard


City Council Place 2: Shae Garrett, Gary Hicks

Merkel ISD

Trustee Place 3: Juanita L. Marshall, Kerry Dean Fryar


Mayor: Nancy Moore, Pam Perkins (write-in)

Throckmorton County

Woodson ISD

Trustees (vote for 3): Marley Boyd, Jimmy Miles, Brady Miller, Brandon Cortez, John Michaels, Gary Brockman

This article originally appeared on Abilene Reporter-News: What's on the May 7 ballot in Abilene-area counties?